Pointless vanity remake of Charade

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The Truth About Charlie


Jonathan Demme is widely respected as the director of Something Wild and The Silence Of The Lambs. But if those two films are his Ziggy Stardust and Low, The Truth About Charlie is his Tin Machine. The idea, and Christ knows why, was to take Stanley Donen’s 1963 romantic thriller Charade and remake it, not in Donen’s style or Demme’s own, but in the new wave style of Truffaut and Godard. Which is all very well if your actors are Seberg and Belmondo, not so good if they’re Mark Wahlberg and Thandie Newton, two lumps of lumber who wouldn’t spark even if you rubbed them together and blew.

The plot? Newton’s husband Charlie disappears and she gets hassled by a gang of mercenaries seeking their cut of a diamond haul. She’s offered help both by a shady G-man (Tim Robbins) and a mysterious do-gooder from the gang (Wahlberg). Who should she trust? Why do the mercenaries keep dying? Why is Charles Aznavour singing in the corner of her bedroom? It’s complete nonsense, atrociously acted, and makes sense only as an elaborate joke, on you, by Demme. Don’t fall for it.